The debate over the referendum in northern Iraq is over and we have to look at what will happen from now on. It is hard to accept disruption of harmony among the nations that have lived together for a thousand years. That's why everybody views the development and the end result from a different perspective. Certainly, in addition to negative comments that fuel the situation further, there are positive comments from different and opposite views that will be a guide in finding a solution. However, trying to justify ourselves or "our team" in the problems that our region produces does not bring a solution, but allows the problem to gangrene. Applying to historical documents and referring to history in such cases is perhaps the best way.
It is insistently said that the crucial role in Masoud Barzani’s journey of betraying the people of region was Saddam Hussein’s persecution of Kurds and the central government’s unfair and even sectarian approach. Such statements are true as long as they do not legitimize the project and Barzani's betrayal.
On the other hand, it is a grave approach to assess this project as a nation’s "self-determination" independent of historical events. It also moves us away from the solution. Therefore, taking political, economic and military measures as an attitude toward KRG today means punishing the betrayal, not the Kurds.
Background of 100-year plan
One of the most important debates in London at the beginning of World War I was the future of Iraq. Indeed, before the Ottoman state had entered the war, the British had brought their soldiers from India in October 1914 and deployed them in front of the Bahrain island. When the Ottoman government announced that it had entered the war in November, Britain soon started invading Iraq by sending its forces to Basra from the Faw strait. Just like the U.S.’s slogan in 2003, the slogan of the British moving toward Basra in late 1914 was: "liberation of Iraqi people."
Despite the hard resistance and great loss and the slaves they left in Kut Al Amara, they did not step back. As of the mid 1916, they moved toward Baghdad and occupied it in March 1917. Britain claimed Basra and Baghdad, which have strategic priorities, as its share, in secret agreements with its allies during the war. It did not even make these cities a matter of debate. The real problem was Mosul, for France also eyed this city, which had newly discovered rich resources. Moreover, Mosul was even shown to be under France’s influence in the Sykes-Picot agreement. But Britain overcame its ally with an insidious plan. In other words, the main target of Britain, which occupied Iraq, was to seize Mosul and its surroundings.
Nuri Pasha explains the British plan
After the Armistice of Mudros, Britain started invading Mosul in violation of the provisions of the deal. This initiative gives us the answer to the question we are asking and who built Barzani's centuries-old dreams. Here, it would be appropriate to leave the floor to history and documents. On Nov. 18, 1918, Nuri Pasha, deputy governor of Mosul, sent the following report, which is protected in our archives, to Istanbul as an urgent message.
“It is seen that there were no clauses among the terms of the Mudros Armistice to justify the British’s occupation of Mosul. There is no possibility to apply Article 7 as there is nothing that could threaten the Entente powers. Due to the difference in religion, it is felt that the majority of people view the British with hatred, and some of the elders are resentful of us due to the issues concerning them, but they do not have tendencies regarding the British. Along with this, in case the British, who are starting to promise things that can and cannot be fulfilled, stay here, there is a possibility that the sense of public will change and come to serve against us.”
In these clear statements, Nuri Pasha says people “do not have tendencies,” but pointed to collaborators who would drag the public to an adventure. He continued to give the following information about the British activities in and around Kirkuk:
“British commanders and officers around Kirkuk are in contact with Kurdish tribes. They make special efforts to please some. In addition, some Kurdish tribal chiefs are brought to Baghdad by cars like a respected delegation, welcomed there and brought back, showing that the British have some goals and ideas about the Ottoman Kurdistan.”
The 100-year goals and ideas that Nuri Pasha determined in the nick of time have ended up like this. A crowded British parliamentary delegation came to Erbil the day before the referendum and held talks with “the Parliament that is not in session.” How independent could this be of the past plans? How true could it be to assess the politics followed by the interest group around Barzani and his family on KRG, which threatens regional peace, as “self-determination” under current circumstances? Is it not making room for betrayal to seek the problem in just Saddam Hussein, Nouri al-Maliki and Haider al-Abadi’s policies?
It is not right to be emotional, ignore the betrayal mechanism and approach the issue only in the context of "neighborhood-brotherhood" in this situation. It is worth remembering once again what will happen if an independent Kurdistan is allowed.
This so-called state, which will have no way out other than Turkey, will soon begin to make plans to add its exit route to its borders without considering the "neighborhood-brotherhood law" in order to survive. This is the real danger. The disclosed measures should be applied without delay and without allowing the issue to be exploited and, albeit late, long-term regional strategies must soon be renewed.
Otherwise, the smallest allowance made for betrayal today will jeopardize Turkey’s future.